Why this lifestyle?

Discussion in 'Experienced Truckers' Advice' started by nightgunner, May 30, 2014.

  1. just_the

    just_the Light Load Member

    Mar 18, 2014
    Saltillo, MS
    Sick of being in an office. While I was doing my bachelor's, when I had breaks, I'd rock the 10 Jacksonville to Santa Monica, fell in love w/ that... Figured prob. not a bad way to get paid.
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  3. fireba11

    fireba11 Heavy Load Member

    Jul 30, 2007
    Tracy City, TN
    In the voice of Mel Gibson from the movie "Braveheart" FFFRRREEEDDDOOOMMM
  4. Aminal

    Aminal Heavy Load Member

    I am really fighting back the temptation to jump in the roux about the Safety guy; Nope. Can't not do it. Long post alert as my toes got stepped on a little, all be it unintentionally. But there's something you guys should know about the Safety guy (at least some of them).

    Having been both and decided I MUCH prefer driving where I'm only responsible for my OWN mistakes. Being a former driver made me a better Safety Manager because I knew exactly where they were coming from and I gave my drivers every possible benefit of the doubt. When in doubt, being a former driver, I sided with my driver. I fought for my drivers in traffic court. I fought for my drivers with the insurance adjustors. I did my level best to help keep them from having accidents and getting hurt or hurting someone else. There are proven best practices that reduce the probability of you being in an accident. There's no such thing as a perfect world and it's darned tough on drivers to try and keep from having an accident with all the craziness out there today. I understood this very well as I still drove. I'd catch odd loads and recovery trips to keep in touch with the driver in me and the road of the day. I'd tell all the new hires: We all make mistakes. Father Sam taught me when I was a kid there was only one perfect one to walk this earth and he's in heaven now. I make mistakes, you make mistakes, we ALL make mistakes. It's not making a mistake that marks us. It's how we handle the mistake after we make it. Do we own up to our part (if any and that might be as subtle as having run over on our HOS when we COULD have shut down, hence we were at the place where we got hit by someone else when we shoulda been parked 50 miles back)? Do we accept our responsibility, hold ourselves accountable for our part, learn from the mistake and try to do what we can to make it right? OR do we point the finger of blame at everything and everybody else and refuse to even consider the possibility we might have been able to have done something different and prevented it? Be honest with me and learn from the mistake and you'll never have a problem with me.

    Two scenarios (these both actually happened): Driver rolled over in a curve. All the physical evidence (skid marks, ECM data etc) showed it was clearly too fast for the curve. Fifteen MPH over the posted sign. First question ALWAYS: "Are you OK? Are you hurt?" I am more interested in my driver than the truck. Sincerely. Second question: "What happened?" They didn't know I already knew from the physical evidence.

    Driver one; "Sorry man. I was going too fast for the curve. I got into it too fast and by the time I realized it, it was too late and I couldn't get the speed down before she rolled. I'm OK but scared the living s#!+ outta me. Crap. I shoulda seen that sign. I just had my mind on something else. I am so sorry."

    Driver two: "The steering locked up and the suspension broke. I heard it pop. I couldn't control her and she flipped." Well that might be true. I'm gonna give him the benefit of the doubt. Let's check it out. I had the insurance company send a truck accident reconstructionist out as well as our head of maintenance and our top mechanics go over the wreck with a fine tooth comb and told them I was looking for evidence to back up the driver's story. I wanted him to be right, even though it sure didn't look like it. Nope. No evidence of any mechanical failure what-so-ever and all the evidence said he was 15 mph faster than the posted speed. Sorry. So I spell it out for him and show him everything. Nope. He is adamant it is mechanical failure and all three experienced professionals are wrong and so is the truck computer and the skid mark speed calculations. It was mechanical failure.

    Driver one I had no problem with at all. I was more worried about getting him over it emotionally so he could drive without constantly thinking about the accident and what could have been. I gave him some tasks to help him get over it and got him back behind the wheel ASAP. Best thing to do is get right back on the horse and ride. Yes I did have to put it down as preventable but as far as him taking any kind of hit with the company: No way, and when the President asked I stepped up and defended the driver and went to bat for him. "He made a mistake. He knows what he did wrong. I guarantee you couldn't put a gun to his head and get him to zip around a curve. He'll be taking curves slower than a tanker loaded with nitro. He's a good driver. We all make mistakes. Insurance covered it." He didn't take a hit at all.

    Driver two; No matter what we all did we couldn't break though his denial. Our (as a company - not just me) Management problem was; in his heart of hearts he believed it was mechanical failure. At two in the morning when there wasn't a soul around but him and the man in the mirror he believed he did nothing wrong. Now let me say this; I'm not slamming him as a person. He's a real nice guy and I wished to God this had never happened to him because the problem was; (this was the discussion with management team had) because he believed he did nothing wrong, he learned nothing from it and was very likely to do it (speed around curves) again. This time it just tore up the truck and trailer. What if next time (this from the ops manager) the curve is the other direction and he rolls into an oncoming car with kids and God forbid we have a fatality or injure some kids or something. Since we knew he was likely to roll in a curve again yet we put him back in the truck and he did; isn't some of their blood on OUR hands? Their attorney is gonna say we are responsible because we knew he was a safety risk but we let him drive anyway and he'd be right.

    We (the rest of the accident committee) couldn't argue with that. He had a very good relationship with his DM (a female). What we did was task her with breaking through his denial. If in a week she could get him to see the light and she felt he was sincere (she was NOT to tell him his job was on the line) we'd keep him. If not; we had no real choice but to let him go or offer him a non-driving job.

    Now I know there are a lot of pricks out there in Safety. Safety does have power and they are glorified, self-righteous power junkies. However, the majority of my peers that were former drivers and kept up with the world by still driving whenever we could were really good guys that cared about our drivers and were just trying to keep them from getting hurt or hurting someone else and I can't even begin to describe the crap we took on the chin from drivers that just didn't or wouldn't get that. They were as sanctimonious and self righteous as the pricks in Safety.

    I got sick of trying to help people that wouldn't help themselves and gave me crap about it. I got sick of being responsible as a department head for what other people did and didn't do. I made more money and was 100 times happier as a driver; Every load I'd run just engrained more and more the road was my home, so as SOON as my kids got old enough, back to driving I went.

    So please, try and give your Safety Manager a little break too. He has a job to do just like you do and he just might be one of the good ones that is just trying to keep you from getting hurt or hurting someone else. If he's the prick; don't worry, he'll climb the company ladder because being in safety isn't where he wants to be. He wants the big ticket board room job and those types keep after it til they get it. Then a new safety guy moves in and maybe he's one of the good ones.

    Sorry if I offended. I'm done preaching now. Be Safe everyone.

    Edit: Driver two saw the light and came to me and convinced me he was sincere and apologized for being so "pig headed" (his words not mine). I shook his hand and told him it takes a real big man to own up to a mistake like that. Don't be too hard on yourself. Just be aware and learn from it and everything will be fine.
    Last edited: May 31, 2014
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  5. Rocks

    Rocks Road Train Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    No boss? You must be an o/o...:biggrin_25519: Choosing your own hrs? And when to take time off? Again, you must be an o/o and you don't have an EOBR in your truck, right? :biggrin_25519:
    x#1 Thanks this.
  6. tracyq144

    tracyq144 Heavy Load Member

    Feb 15, 2009
    Even with EOBR's, Qualcomm, crazy DOT regs and such, it's still the most freedom I have ever had in a job, and I've had quite a few different ones. Nothing like when I started in 1986, but still...

    It's petty much all about attitude.
    nightgunner and Aminal Thank this.
  7. nightgunner

    nightgunner Road Train Member

    Jul 23, 2013
    Cedar Rapids, IA
    Completely inappropriate content. Otherwise cool story Bro.
    Rocks Thanks this.
  8. Wooly Rhino

    Wooly Rhino Road Train Member

    Jul 6, 2008
    Liberty, Missouri
    I ran a group of Banks located on 3 different continents. The pay was beyond great. My home office was Victoria Island, Lagos, Nigeria. The only problem was that there the lot lizards were actually lizards. Big things with these giant orange heads.
  9. Rocks

    Rocks Road Train Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    The safety lady in my co. hasn't ever driven a truck... :biggrin_25512: I don't think so...
  10. MrEd

    MrEd Road Train Member

    Sep 2, 2011
    Winfred, SD
    I started driving in 1993. After 3 companies, one of which I was at almost 17 years, my family talked me into trying a local job. So in Feb 2011 I went to work in a little factory in Madison, SD. And by Aug I was calling around for a trucking job. Never even thought about trying another factory. And have been back driving since Dec 2011. Couldn't even stay off the road a year. Guess I'll retire from trucking in 25 years or so.
  11. Rocks

    Rocks Road Train Member

    Jan 13, 2008
    I started trucking almost 7 yrs ago... so, I am not familiar with the lifestyle it used to be back in the 80's or 70's... I did hitchhike with truck drivers in my country of origin, Brasil during the 80's and I always LOVED THE ROAD!!! :yes2557: I am a female gipsy... :biggrin_25519:
    I never thought, not even dreamed about driving a big truck... :biggrin_25512: I had been self employed most of my life, in Brasil and in the USA and had much more freedom than now. :yes2557: But although I had more freedom, I hated my last job and was looking for something more fulfilling and that had more to do with me... So, someone who knew me quite well, suggested trucking and I gave it the try... And I totally fell in love with it. :love4: Because, again, I LOVE THE ROAD!!! :Road:
    However, I am a co. driver and the way I see trucking nowadays, there's no freedom in trucking... :biggrin_25512: I have free spirit and hate being controlled... but my life is totally ruled by co. rules, EOBR, HOS, regulations left and right... I am not free at all... :biggrin_25512: And this truck is not mine... I can't do whatever I want with it... I can't park wherever I want whenever I want... I gotta follow the rules if I want to comply... And I do need to comply if I want to remain in this business.... Don't know for how long though... Cause the more limitations the government puts on this job, the less attractive it becomes to me...
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